Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Today's Pics





The 50 Cal Range

My roommate and I got out of PT, so that we could head to the range early. Heavily insulated with two sets of polypros (thermal underwear that puts Long Johns to shame) and our BDUs under full combat gear, we loaded into the back of deuce-and-a-half trucks. With the back end of the tarp shut, its always pretty dark inside, and you can barely make out a handful of G.I.s sitting on benches, trying to catch a little shut-eye as they (and you) bob and weave from the bumpy ride. Someone makes a random comment about how "this guy can't drive", but there usually isn't much conversation, so naturally your thoughts wander, in any direction really.

Once we arrived, we were given the same safety brief we've been hearing over and over since we'd joined, and we set up our monstrous .50 calibur machine guns on their tripods facing the range. My team leader would be the one firing, and I was designated the assistant gunner. If there was time, I'd be able to fire too. Until then, my job was to bring belts of ammunition to my gunner, and look pretty. Perfect opportunity for my precious video camera to come out. I may even upload a picture or two for you great people.

Remembering what it was like to be half-deaf for a day after the live fire range in which my pal lit me up, I wisely inserted ear plugs as ammo belts were locked in place. The 50s were charged (the act of yanking back on a handle to chamber a round), and in turn, I became charged. I'd been waiting to see these evil beasts in action for a very long time. I'd heard stories, myths, legends, and fables of the power of the Ma-Deuce, as its called.

"It can chop down trees!"

"It annihilates anything!"

"It baptised Jesus!"

"The 50 cal took out Soddom and Gommorah!"

"It cured cancer!"

So of course, I'm ready to see the apocalyptic wonders of this heavy duty tank buster. To be honest though, I wasn't all that impressed. Sure, its powerful, and definitely should be respected and not taken lightly. But as I watched it punch holes in the paper targets, I half expected to see collateral damage or something, maybe a little fire and brimstone, or a new Spice Girls CD, or some other sign of the end of the world, but it was actually just a normal, beastly machine gun.

The sound wasn't as deafening as the 120mm mortars are, so who's dissing the Charlies now?

But in all seriousness, it was a pretty awesome spectacle, and those rounds are massive. Sadly, my gunner's 50 was all messed up, and so he could only fire a few rounds. We ended up putting it away, which meant I wouldnt be touching it. Which explains my disappointment with the beast. I've yet to grab ahold and see if I can hang on for eight seconds, so right now, my opinion doesn't mean a lot. Is it loud and thunderous? Oh yeah. Would I fear for my life if one were to fire one in the same zip code as me? You better believe it. Did it baptise Jesus? Doubtful. I can see the Soddom and Gomorrah part, but to be honest, that sounds like the work of mortarmen.

But seeing as religious references for comedic purposes are still a little touchy with some, I'll lay them to rest until next post. I spent the rest of the day messing with my camera, helping out with small errands, and relaxing. This has been the first day in a long time that I was glad to be in the army. We were actually doing something. We weren't BSing around with busywork to make it look like we were "training". No, this goes on my "Holy Crap This Stuff Actually Matters" list. GOOD STUFF!

Happy trails, pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another Update

Not a whole lot of intense interest has been going on. I spent Thanksgiving with nearby family members, which was a bit of a godsend. My roommate had left to stay with a friend in Olympia, and so all was quiet during our four day weekend. Also, since alcohol is no longer allowed in the barracks, the barracks were completely empty. It was like living in that hotel in The Shining, minus those two crazy twins. The silence was loud, if that makes any sense at all.

I had spent the weekend in a kind of limbo. There is no other way to describe it. It got to the point where I was actually watching TV. I normally can't hardly stand most of what TV has to offer, but this was a very desperate time. From what I'd been told, officers would be serving Thanksgiving dinner to soldiers still in the barracks, but luckily I had plans. I've had a chance to sample the leftovers of the meal, and I wasn't impressed. And yes, I'm being very generous with that statement.

The weekend itself crawled like a man dying in the desert. I was trapped in an abyss of boredom. No money, no minutes on my phone, nowhere to go, and nothing to do. I had learned what it was to merely exist. Granted, I'd done that so many times before, back when I wore Circa and Metallica T-shirts and jeans or cargo pants, and not BDUs. When my uniform was a hoodie and a pair of khakis. But back then, I was in my hometown, and whether or not I wanted to admit it, there were certainly atleast a couple things for me to do. If nothing else, I could drive (or even walk) across town and explore the lifeless downtown area. Here, I was pretty much trapped. It was the closest thing to a waking coma that I can imagine.

Monday morning was nothing special, another PT session. Another breakfast meal. I was certain we'd be having one of those rare days where we do best to stay out of sight and out of mind. Wrong. We were to go out into the woods and practice battle drills because we had nothing else to do. Naturally, we were slightly on the displeased side of that, being that its getting very cold out here, and we're whiny little girls. By some awesome twist of fate, my roommate and I lucked out. Since both of us are Assistant Gunners on the mortars, apparently that also means that we'll be the gunners on the Strykers. So we were sent to an all-day class regarding the 50 cal machine gun. Hey, atleast we got to stay inside.

This is called "getting over", when you luck out, and everyone else continues to get screwed. Its rare, but extremely rewarding, if for nothing else but feeling the warm wash of relief. Seeing the angry and jealous eyes of your friends is also pretty funny too, because you'll instantly remember all the times you've been busting your hump or shivering or whatever, while they were sitting pretty. Karma may be severely backlogged, but now and then, it'll throw ya a bone, it seems. So what if it's never enough?

We're spending today going over EIB (Expert Infantry Badge) tasks. Today was the first day I've ever touched an M9 (Beretta 9mm pistol). I can take it apart and put it back together well under the EIB standard time. To be honest, anyone should be able to. We also worked on a radio for a bit, and were given a very unnecessary demonstration on how to disassemble and reassemble an M4. Because I've never once taken my M4 apart. Nope, never, not once, uh uh, nooo way, no sir, not me. I can lay on another thick layer of sarcasm if you'd like, but I think you get the picture. The funny thing is that taking an M4 apart and haphazardly putting it back together is no longer even an EIB task. Killing time.

As of now, its snowing. My roommate is from Texas, and right now, he's like a kid in a candy store. Or maybe its more like bringing a caveman to the Las Vegas Strip at night. The guys in our platoon that are from parts of our wonderful country where they don't get snow much, they tend to ooh and ahh. Several times I've had to inform a Joe tugging on my sleeve that I'm from Montana, and believe it or not, I've seen snow before.

This wonderful snowing act of God, by the way, potentially means that we could get the next couple of days off. My guess is that its in sympathy to those living off post who don't know how to drive in snow. Whatever the case is, I'm praying that its true, because I'm a lazy young man. Thank god I wasn't stationed in Alaska. I doubt they get much sympathy for snow. Here, on the other hand, if we're lucky, we just may "get over".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Brief Analysis of Garrison Life

To anyone considering joining the army, this is for you. First off, I'm not trying to dissuade you from joining. However, I'd love to atleast attempt to open your eyes a little bit to army life. So hell, maybe this "blog" (horrid word, I think) can be your guide. Either way, this is an important post for you.

The majority of the time, when an infantryman is in garrison, IE- not in the field and not deployed, but in the company area in or around the barracks, there is pretty much only one thing they/we do.

We kill time in the most idiotic and unfun ways.

Yes, you are supposed to be busy, always productive. But most of the time, there isn't anything for us to do. There are days when weapons ranges aren't available to us, or we won't have the resources to do this or that, or our primary leadership will be gone, busy doing something else, and there won't be anything important for us to do.

I've said before that our job while in garrison is to train. That doesn't mean that we're doing all the crazy hooah bullshit you see on TV. In fact, that's all very rare. Ignore those retarded goarmy commercials. If you want to join for the right reasons, you still will. Just know that what you see on TV will not be your typical day.

Ever hear the phrase "hurry up and wait"? Yeah, get used to that one. Today is a different day, on the other hand. Today is one of those days where there is seriously nothing for us to do, and our leaders are busy. There have been times like this, where a Specialist (E4) would march us out into the woods near our barracks and give us a class on different knots in ropes. Just bullshitting, really. Killing time.

Today, we're cleaning, getting ready for a bullshit inspection. Killing time. That's why I get an odd feeling when people thank me for serving this country. I don't feel like I've done a lot. Maybe if they would have let me go to Louisianna or Texas and do something to help the flood relief, I'd feel like I served my country. All I've done was donate money to the Red Cross. Along with paying taxes, I haven't done anything that an ordinary civilian cannot do. Just killing time.

Inspections are somewhat common. I can understand them to a point. Yes, for some reason we must maintain a military appearance. But our own rooms? I understand the reasons for keeping it clean and sanitary, but not to the point of being anally retentive. There's likely a perfectly good explanation for that too, but right now I don't feel like proving myself wrong. "Clean your room." Gotcha dad. Will do. Heh, Wilco.

Just killing time.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

DJ Jumps In


Guys! Why all the fighting? The war is out there, man, OUT THERE!!! Besides, everyone knows that when they make a movie about Ryan, only my nerdish charm could portray him. Keep your Grammy and your Academy Awards. I keeps it real.

Denzel Washington Responds:

Hey, Tommy, don't forget about me, sucka! If I make a movie the same time you do, it will cause global chaos, because no one will know which of us will be the shoo-in for all the awards. I'm the baddest motha out there. I got Training Day, you got The Burbs. If you can't take the heat, stay outta the kitchen, fool.

Tom Hanks Says:


Hi everyone, this is Tom Hanks. And I would just like to say that the author of this blog is the coolest person ever and I wish I was him. The only thing that makes me feel better is the fact that I can wake up on any given day and know that any movie I act in, I will receive a prestigious award for it. Its not much, but it gets me through the day.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Vaccinations

When I first processed into the army, I received all sorts of injections. An asston in each arm. And one penicillin injection in the buttcheek, which we called the "peanut butter shot" because it feels like someone is shooting peanut butter into your ass. It leaves a massive muscle knot or something, so it feels like there's a golf ball hibernating in your left cheek. It was interesting.

When I arrived here at Fort Lewie, I was fortunate enough to receive some more injections, but not the peanutter butter shot. This morning, we were given a flu vaccination or something. It was the same as the one we received at 30th AG during inprocessing before basic, except some new strand of the flu, or something crazy like that. That, or its the T virus from those Resident Evil games. So I figure I'll either be immune to a new flu, or else I'll become a zombie, and spend the rest of my days acting in the sequels to Shaun of The Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Everything Else of the Dead, and the Resident Evil series. Whichever works. If I'm lucky, I can even be an advisor to the director. Or else I just won't get really sick. I'm not sure. I just work here.

For these flu vaccinations, rather than shoving a needle in you for the fun of it, they take this syringe thing, which has no needle. You tilt your head back, they stick the tip of it in your nose and squirt it in there while you snort it. When it drips down from your sinuses, you get to swallow it. Coke-head jokes ensued. I'll let you all know when I start to feel like Chevy Chase's career lately. Hopefully it will never get that bad.

Yours truly,
Audie Murphy

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Returning Home...To The Barracks

High-Speed - adj.
Anything or anyone in the army that performs exceptionally well or is cutting edge, badass, or hooah.
1) That Ranger is one high-speed motha trucka.
2) We are going to engage in some high-speed training today.

We trained and slept out in the field yesterday and the first part of today. I woke up yesterday feeling more horrible than I had in a very long time. I had no drive to do anything, and simply ran on autopilot because its more convenient than drawing attention to myself. We spent plenty of time preparing out gear, being that its November, and Washington has been having a rather long romance with rain lately. Our rucksacks were a lot heavier than normal, though still not unbearable. We only marched three and a half miles out, so I couldn't figure out why I was struggling so badly, since I've finally become half decent at roadmarching. I later found out that it was because we were also wearing our body armor with the rucksacks. That explained why my shoulders were hurting so badly, combined with the extra weight. Plus I think I was dehydrated.

Once we arrived, we went through some very outdated battle tactics. There was no point in complaining, but with the huge possibility of vacationing in the Middle East present, I would feel a lot better if our training were more related to that. However, I also realize that we'll get there when we get there, and our chain of command is doing their best, and probably knows what they're doing a lot better than I do.

During an ambush exercise, my best friend (and luckily roommate) and I were assigned to be security elements. If you're curious about what that is, sorry, but I won't explain any further just to be on the safe side. Basically, my buddy and me did a lot of hiding in the bushes, and that was it. We basically laid there and watched an assortment of bugs crawl around us. I whipped out my video camera and caught a brief segment of us being stupid. With that camera and the footage I save, I'll always have something concrete to look back on.

After a few more exercises, we prepared to set up our camp, and I was extremely satisfied with that idea. The entire day seemed difficult to me, but only because my personal morale was sitting in the same spot your goldfish is flushed to when it dies. I slept horribly, my mind constantly running about this and that. Plus every few hours I'd have to pull guard duty. Luckily, or not so luckily, we had NODs (I forget what it stands for, but their nightvision goggles). Depth perception goes out the window with those things, and they give you a little bit of a headache. I ended up using mine more like binoculars. The moon was bright enough anyway. The only thing we were watching for was our platoon sergeant messing with us. If we didn't catch him, our entire squad would have to pull guard. Half-sleep sounded like a better idea, so we all just kept constant watch on the hooch he set up to sleep in. Behave, sergeant.

Earlier that day, his truck got stuck in a half formed foxhole, and hilarity ensued. I recorded a little of it, but I won't post it because I'd like to remain anonymous as long as possible, like I said before. Granted, if anyone in my immediate chain of command were to stumble upon this, they'd immediately know who it was.

We were setting up a pass phrase for our camp, and our platoon leader was saying that it should be two completely unrelated words. No one could come up with any good suggestions, because they were all related. So me, the moronic smartass that I am, I suggested "[My last name]" and "high speed" since they were totally unrelated. That won.

I woke up feeling a lot better. Granted, I awoke to guns ablaze all around me. Groggy, I had no idea what was going on, so I asked a buddy in a very professional way what was going on, by saying, "Dude, what the fuck are those assholes doing?" Apparently, we were to wake up, as it was time for our lovely day to start, and to expend all of our blank ammunition. So I locked and loaded and let her rip from inside my hooch, yelling for someone to cover my while I reloaded. Oh gosh, I am just so funny. If they make a movie about me, I'll be played by DJ Qualls, the nerdy dude from Road Trip and The New Guy.

I did a lot of thinking on the roadmarch back, and couldn't figure out why I felt better, but I also didn't mind. Feeling good is generally fun. As sick as I get of everyone and everything, there are some pretty badass dudes in my platoon.

Plus there's one other thing that always seems to make me feel better. Staind has a song called "How About You" that always seems to lighten the weight on my shoulders.

If someone else showed you the way,
Would you take the wheel and steer...

If they jumped off a bridge,
would you meet them on the ground?
Or would you try to claim
that it never made a sound?

Everyone plays the hand they're dealt
And learns to walk through life themself
Not everything in life is handed on a plate
When people think your words are true,
It doesn't matter what you do
I sold my soul to get here,
How about you?

Thanks for the uplifting comments. You know who you are.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Patient

I'm not totally in it right now. I could try to write a decent introductory paragraph, or in some way try to make this a really good post, but why? I'll just say what I have to say, and let it be mediocre.

I fucking HATE some of the mentalities that soldiers instill in each other. The natural distrust of civilians, for one. Womanizing. Not everyone is guilty of it, but I see it enough. The idea that its ok to cheat, or to take advantage of a girl who's had too much to drink.

That's right, friends and readers and my chain of command and everything else wasting its time reading this. I'm a fag now because I didn't try to get my swerve on with someone who was way too messed up. She's really cool, and she doesn't deserve it.

I'm pissed off at soldiers in general, myself included. Self-pitying, negative, alcoholic shit-talking retards. No, we aren't all like that. There are a few of us who don't slip into it. A small collective that don't regress. I'm walking the line myself. No one has anything good to say, anything positive. In a light hearted manner, I heard two of my friends talk about marriage and college and cheating and anything in general, and it brought me down.

I can't even find the write words to say to describe what's eating me. I hate almost everyone around me, save for a very small group of people. I'm sick of hearing the retarded things everyone has to say. Sick of the same group of dudes who can't ever drop a tough man act. If I had it my way, I'd end their Who's Dick Is Bigger contest by having them all just fight it out with each other. Don't try to convince everyone that you're hard. I don't know about everyone else, but I really don't fucking care. You don't impress me. You're an idiot.

Most of us soldiers are morons. Maybe jarhead is a good term. Fuck it, I don't even care if everyone stereotypes us as that. Seems to the be the majority. Atleast at the lower level. The Joes. The pieces of shit are usually fewer and farther between in some of the higher ranks.

It just feels like everyone's degrading and I don't want to go down with them. Keyword is WITH. I'll degrade on my own in my room, with my laptop, good music, and interesting people on the other end of the line. This'll pass too.

I'm just sick of trying to convince people that we aren't warmongering death machines. I don't care what anti-war people are saying anymore. I don't care what pro-war people are saying. I don't care if the whole country, the whole world hates us or loves us. I'm not serving your country. I'm existing under its control. When I go to Iraq, I'll be serving my country's interests. K, whatever, that's fine.

June 2009, I might get my life back. I'm sick of Joe.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Nugget of Joy from GW


"My fellow Americans, good evening. As we prepare to usher in a wonderful Thanskgiving, I would like to take the time out of my day to let y'all in on a very important and classified secret. Kany West is an idiot. Thank you, and God bless."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Counter Production

The only reason that Iraq is still a hot spot is because those who view us as enemies pass their hatred and bias onto their children. Its always been that way. To seriously win, we have to win over an entire generation. The children of the Iraqis that hate us.

I just pray that Iraq's law enforcement and new military can learn to stand on their own. I'm sick of hearing liberals say anything they want, without knowing anything. If you want to turn on your TV for ten minutes, see something bad, and give yourself another reason to hate Bush and all of us warmongering babykillers, by all means please do. I love talking to anti-war sympathizers. I love their sunshine and farts mentality about everything. Yes, let's TALK to the suicide bombers. That's how we'll get through to them. Maybe we can get A Perfect Circle to release another album of anti-war songs, on the NEXT election day, because it worked so well the first time. For those of you who "oppose the war and the troops", just know that your taxes finance it, and you've already lost. You've served your purpose before your paycheck fell into your hands, so you've purchased your right to whine. I'm not attacking liberal people, please don't think that. I'm vehemently attacking the point of view that some have recently shared with me. I don't claim to be liberal or conservative, or any of that stupid shit. I don't need a label, or a mold to govern how I'm likely to feel about any given situation. Peace isn't possible. People are beautiful and horrible creatures. Look at the picture of Joker, with the peace pin and Born To Kill written on his helmet. A perfect statement about the duality of mankind. Again, I'm not attacking anyone. I AM sharing a strong disagreement with the point of view that we are doing the wrong thing.

Now don't get me wrong. I oppose the war as well. I oppose the insurgents' war on us, and their war on their own people. I oppose their war that they've been living their entire lives. Would I bat an eye if we all pulled out of Iraq today? Nope. Iraq isn't the only country in turmoil. Yes, its a very sad fact of life. But I didn't put on this uniform to be one of Iraq's heroes. I didn't put it on for college money either. I put it on for the people in my country who were already wearing it, and were fighting in conflicts unrelated to them for the most part.

I support our troops. Literally.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More MOUT

MOUT - n. military acronym.
Military Operations in Urban Terrain.

We hopped on buses, as opposed to the more common cattle trucks, and rode our happy asses to one of the billions of ranges here on this fanciful post. Weather conditions weren't bad, so there's something else to be greatful for.

At the moment, I'm preparing my room for an inspection, and as a result, this post has already taken me several hours to complete. So I'm going to rush it, and I hope its half decent. If not, well then you can always read "For Whom The Bell Tolls", because it drags on in parts worse than I could ever dream of.

The major and only focus of the day's training was entering and clearing buildings. Naturally, this has become an important military task. I wrote about being the poor fool inside the building when the big bad boys of U. S. of Fuckin A come storming in. Now here's a brief description of what its like to raid a decently constructed MOUT house.

In my team, I got to be the guy who breaches the door. This MOUT site actually HAD doors. Aww yeah. Get some. So when I got the signal, I'd run up, do something that I'm supposed to do that I'm not going to tell you about, and when ready, I'd kick that door in and get out of the way to let my crew into the room and I'd pour in at the end of the line. Violence of action? We've got it. Clearing rooms is one hell of a rush. I can't imagine what the real thing is like. From the moment I got the signal to the moment I heard the team leader say "Room clear," I didn't get one thought out. Just perception and action. Simplify to the point where the bullshit is gone. For once, I wasn't half day-dreaming. The only other time I've ever been that focused was while playing my guitar. And as soon as that particular run was over and we were having our After Action Report (AAR), we'd be asked to go over what all happened.

I had to seriously think HARD on what had happened. Its all a blur. By the time that I would make it in the room, guns were already ablaze. The only things on my mind were where my buddies were in the room, where the target was, and what my sector of fire was. There were a few other details as well, but does it really matter? The point is that clearing rooms is a rush. When we switched over to live ammo, things really kicked into a higher gear. You have to be fast, aggressive, decisive, perceptive, and SAFE all at the same time.

Our company commander watched a few of our iterations and he said that I really had him and my team fired up. Allegedly, I handled the training with a high degree of motivation and intensity. On one hand, its cool to be complimented and all that, but I'm not sure how I feel about that attention. Does this mean he'll have his eye on me from now on? Heh, life goes on. I'm just doing my job. Odd though, one of the few times I REALLY get into what we're doing, someone happens to be looking. Shit. To make matters worse (or maybe better, or both), when I came back from the range and was about to turn my weapon into the arms room, the supply sergeant mentioned that he heard that the CO was impressed.

Like I said, that's cool and all, but I don't see why no one else was mentioned. The kid who took point every time, with two groups, no less, was kicking ass. He almost always had the target down in one shot, before anyone else could even take a crack at it. Where's his kudos?

Right here.

How To Lose All Your Water Weight

I believe I've touched on roadmarches before. This morning, we went for a lovely 8 mile stroll to break our new rucks in. It wasn't too bad, so I suppose we're becoming very accustomed to them. Not enough, as I still managed to form blisters on my feet, but also not all that bad really. It rained the way it always does here at Lewis. A mild but ever present drizzle.

"Dude, rain sucks, man, its all like....depressing and wet and stuff."

Totally. But it was also nice at the same time. Sure, water adds weight, but when you take your soft cap off and orient your face towards the sky, rain will rinse some of the sweat off of your face and out of your eyes. And when one roadmarches, one sweats for a prolongued period of time, and the sweat will also dry. So you'll have trails of clearly visible salt on your face. I've also seen this on uniforms, especially around the borders of the body armor. Replenish your electrolytes, I guess.

Once we returned, a little bit on the fatigued side, it was decided that we would enjoy a 30 to 45 minute smoke session, I mean "motivational PT" session. Be loud for the hell of it, to rub this minor and insignificant accomplishment in the face of members of the other platoons who weren't doing anything. Right, because I'm sure they were jealous... Either way, to NOT sound off and make plenty of noise, that means that you, as a platoon would simply LOVE more strenuous and lengthy exercise.

After it was finished, one of my buddies said that it was exactly like PRC (Pre-Ranger Course). Sounds intensive. And for the record, its really hard to do pushups with the feet of the man in front of you resting on your shoulders while your feet rest on someone else's.

After lunch we played basketball, and that also makes you sweat. So I sweat a lot today. And THAT is how to lose waterweight, ladies and gentlemen. Sure you could sit in the sauna, but how is THAT fun?

Any questions?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

=)

Some images from the dinner ceremony thing with the awesome Japanese army. They are just straight up, the bomb dizzegety. H to the izzle.

Kendo fighters.
In action. Beats the hell out of our pugil stick fighting.
2 awesome drummers from the Japanese army, stationed at Mt Fuji (i believe)
Cheers.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Moment of Zen Brought to You by Me

Friday, November 04, 2005

Very Very Cool

We got there a little too late, so that part of our night is done and over, so now we'll just chill out here in the barracks. Again, I'll tell all of you all about it later on, once I'm a bit more calm and collected. I'm just really glad they came out, and glad I volunteered to go.

I've also never had a poem written about me, atleast not to my knowledge, so this is really cool. Tracy L. O'Very wrote this.

~~Unknown Not Ever Unknown~~ He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. We know not much about him or his life. We know he marched off, filled with pride. We know he served bravely for you and me. He protected our freedom, protected our lives. He gave his heart, he gave his love for you and me. He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. They know all about him and his life. They watched him march off, filled with pride. They know he served bravely for you and me. They gave him their heart, they gave him their love. Unknown not ever unknown to all. He is an unknown soldier. Unknown to you and me. To all the unknown soldiers, their families and their friends, We stand with our pride-filled hearts, and give our love to you. And thank you, For protecting our freedom and protecting our lives. Salute!

Tracey L. O' Very 4/11/05 Copyright 2005 All rights reserved http://www.authorsden.com/traceylovery http://www.authorsden.com/traceylovery1

The spacing got all messed up, but its the idea behind it that matters to me, and not what format blogger.com presents it.

Much love,
RiaN!

I Really AM Turning Japanese

Just came back from hanging with the Japanese soldiers. Those people are completely.....AWESOME. I wish I was still there, chilling out. They had a few skits, some kendo fighting in armor, a weakest link Japanese style, and two AMAZING drummers. I filmed a decent deal of it, and I'll try to upload some, or atleast some pictures. Again, this was awesome. I am at a loss for eloquent words. I'm pretty much dumbfounded.

The Japanese seem to think we are the bomb diggety and then some. They were always like, "Gift! Gift!" We were exchanging everything we had. I gave away the unit crest from my beret, next went my unit patch on my right shoulder sleeve, then next to go was my American flag. They were digging that. I also gave one dude my U.S. Army tape that goes across my left chest above the pocket. I still have my name and my rank on my BDUs, I was trying to give away the rank, but they were cool. I think they saw how sterile my uniform was becoming. I scored a Tshirt, a cigarette case, a little card that had a tank on it, several rank pins, a unit crest. It was fucking AWESOME.

And now my roommate wants to go, so we are going back there. My platoon sergeant cut us off, while we're just buzzing. The Japanese see you without a beer, and they say, "Ohhh!!! Beer! Beer!" They love to hook you up. I'll tell you all more later.

Much love,
Private Ryan

Friday Is Good

First off, to Tracey L. O'Very, uh, yeah, you can use my posts on your site if you want as long as you credit them, that's cool. As for the picture, its just a screenshot from the move Full Metal Jacket. I just pulled it off the internet somewhere. Oh, and my name isn't really Hajji. Its Ryan. The word "Hajji" refers to anyone of the Islam faith who has completed their pilgrimage to Mecca. With us, the word "Hajji" refers to either all Iraqis or just the insurgents, I'm not too sure. I believe its been used in both context. It works the same way as the way we refer to ourselves, namely the low ranking nobody useful idiots, as "Joes", as in G.I. Joes. I played Hajji for an afternoon, but not the type that went to Mecca. Just to clarify.

Everybody has a freaking myspace. Everyone. What the hell? I created an account so I could view a friend's, and now my roommate is spazzing out and saying that we should create our own myspaces. The dude from that Laguna Beach tv show has one, and so does Tool's guitarist. THAT is saying something. This must be the beginning of the end.

Today we enjoyed the throwing of very nastily concocted pies in the faces of members of the troop to raise money for the family readiness group. I also donated money to the Red Cross, which for the first time in its history, has had to take out a loan. You, too, should donate atleast a couple bucks, some minute and useless amount of money that you'd normally spend on junk food and lattes anyway. This way, when your world turns to dogshit, god(s) forbid, they can help you out too. That, or you can spend your money to buy the first billion seasons of Survivor on DVD, so that the executives who produce it can continue to snort cocaine off of the asses of high priced hookers. Whichever works for you.

Later on tonight, myself and a few other members of my platoon, among more selected members of our company, are going to some get-together with Japanese soldiers that are visiting. I'll bring my Digital Camcorder of Ultimate Asskickery, and maybe even upload a few photos for all of you awesome people. Its Friday and I'm hoping to get my hands on some Saki, as I've never tried it, but prospects of that look grim, as my platoon sergeant will be there, and will likely say "Nay". Sadly, I am but the tender age of twenty. Two decades of existence on this fabulous planet are not enough to empart the necessary wisdom to legally allow me to drink. Luckily, if one so inclined as myself were to cross the mystical border of Canada, the curse would be lifted, and so would my spirits, with some good brews and laughter, and good times will be had by all. I still haven't gotten around to doing that, either. I'm slacking.

Alas, Cinderella must get ready for the ball. Necessary steps include selling out and creating a myspace. I'm sure I'll die a little more inside because of it.

Sincerely,
Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hi, Call Me Hajji

Oh joy, interesting days indeed. Yesterday we had great fun with urban combat training. Since the army loves us all so dearly, our training took place in a ghost town that's been set up for this sort of purpose. It looked like one of those little European villages from Band of Brothers. The insides, however, were wooden skeletal abodes with no furniture or any decorations whatsoever. Very fit for a crackhouse, or hiding OPFOR (Opposing Force, good guys playing as bad guys so the other good guys can get more realistic training).

On this rainy Washington day, my platoon did our training in the morning, and we are all just so incredibly awesome that we should have our own cheerleaders, atleast I think so. But the cheerleaders have to be quiet while we're sneaking around. In fact, we'll keep the cheerleaders back at the rear to do our laundry and whatnot when we return from a hard day in the field.

But since that isn't going to happen, I'll get on with the story that a maximum of four people will be half interested in. During the afternoon, my platoon was the designated OPFOR, which meant that we were to hole up in buildings and be really mean Hajji type dudes while the other soldiers came in through anywhere they saw fit and put a jihad on our asses.

Now, I've done all the training that they were going over, and I was familiar with all these buildings. However, once the sheet hit the fan, all of that became irrelevant. U.S. troops put a monstrous Jihad onto any fools who want to play hide and seek. I experienced this firsthand, with a bunch of newbies attacking, no less. We, the humble OPFOR, were completley out-Jihadded. It was something ugly, like Metallica still trying to have a career. Or if New Kids On The Block had a reunion album singing selections by Bjork and featuring guest appearances by Yanni, Kenny G, and that guy from Van Halen, the replacement singer. That's right, a complete mess, a train wreck, the complete eradication of all things that once were. THAT'S what its like to have these crazy motha truckas sent in to light your fire.

After a while, we OPFOR losers started to get creative, and made it a little more challenging. Seeing as we were outnumbered and outgunned and disorganized, we decided to improvise. A buddy of mine, the fella that felt it necessary to unload on my Andy Dick from "In The Army Now" looking ass with blanks last week, decided that we needed a grenade or something. He ended up finding the casing for an illumination flare, which is tube shaped, like a pipe bomb or something. At one point, we were upstairs in one of the buildings waiting for the soldiers to come ass-kicking in. When they neared the stairs, he threw the 'grenade' down the stairs, and it was actually hilarious because you could hear them spazzing out and scattering downstairs, all their organization had turned to shit. FIGHT THE POWER! DRIVE OUT THE INFIDELS!!!

Once they were ready to reattempt to negotiate our Staircase of Impending Doom and Murder For Righteous Cause, we started hooking our rifles around the corner and blindly firing down the stairs, the way insurgents do. Now, this only works for a little bit, and only kept them at bay because they didnt have grenades. My buddy had to reload his weapon, leaving me in charge to cover the bottleneck that was the stairs.

Now previously, I was quickly eliminated by one of the sergeants from our company. He shortly after came back and "double tapped" me just to rub it in. I smiled and said something about getting him later. This is simply beautiful, as it was HIM who was now quietly sneaking up the stairs. I guess he was expecting one of us to lean around the corner again. I was hiding in a room and through the doorway I could see the stairwell. As soon as he came into view, he recieved a hail of divine punishment from my neck of the woods. "Ah fuck, I'm dead," was all he said as he stood aside and watched his men do their work. The man behind him had no idea what happened or where it came from, and he met the same fate. I am so awesome. The third guy to come up refused to accept that I already had three rounds in him before his weapon was even through the door, meaning that he wasnt hitting me, nor was he even firing until after I made him my Bullet Sponge Bitch. Suddenly, we're all seven years old again, playing guns in the back yard.

"I shot you!"

"Nuh uh!" BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM.

Ummmkay........Well then I guess I'M dead now. Here comes the fun part. Once the room is cleared, they've got to search you, etc. Hell, you're DEAD, so they can take liberties in maneuvering you around. At one point, I died in the way of another door that they'd have to enter. This big Specialist, a Hawaiian dude, grabbed me by my body armor and very suggestively repositioned me out of the way, in the same manner one would reposition a trash bag blocking the door to Eternal Happiness. Then some other dude raids me like some scavenger. I felt like Mike Tyson's girlfriend. (Sorry, that was low.)

During the final run, my pal Ol Buddykiller and I found another house, again upstairs to chill in. He rigged up a boobytrap to the stairs and readied another grenade. We traded off drags of a cigarette as we watched our Evil American Enemies clear the first building. As soon as they started moving to the second, we'd take shots at them from the windows, waiting for our turn to get our butts whooped. Once a team of Infidels prepared to enter our building, we dropped a grenade right on them, and again laughed at the thought of them scattering like cockroaches under the light. One guy saw our booby trap on the stairs and shouted it out, but whoever it was that was in the lead must have thought that it wasn't part of the training, and tripped it. At this point, we felt like some pretty badass Hajjis.

Guess what, we still got smoked.

The funny thing is that in an actual combat situation like that, we wouldn't have lived half as long as we did, and most times I was a goner within the first ten seconds. The Joes were everywhere. They're like ninjas or something. Even sneakier than the Giddeons who put Bibles in hotel rooms when no one is looking.

"Wow, RiaN!, that sure is cool! But what did you do today?"

Well my friends, we went to the rifle range and shot a bunch of stuff to relieve all our manly aggression and show those cartboard silhouette targets who the boss is. Get some!

And then, we came back, and had to hang around in the common areas for an extra what....uhh....oh yeah, three hours, thanks to a very interesting set of mess-ups. You see, two guys [OPSEC OPSEC] and then when they [OPSEC] they [OPSEC OPSEC-A-ROO] and that led to a Wild [OPSEC] Chase. Aside from that, there was [OPSEC] when there's only [OPSEC] to [OPSEC OPSEC OPSECUREME] and so we had to do something about it, which involved [OPSEC]. Personally, I feel that maybe a little more [OPSEC] should be applied to the news and the military channel and shitty shows like Over There, which seem to reveal way more than my gibbering ever will. But that's just me.

We finally got off work, and my roommate and I went to Subway. While waiting, I mentioned to him that we should set our alarms for 5AM because that's when we need to be up. The girl at the counter promptly said, "So do I" in a seemingly 'I have it worse than you and I'm still working' way. My homie and I exchanged looks like "Is she serious?" We held our tongues though.

Who knows, maybe she was having the worst day of her life. I was half tempted to mention some of the things we do, but why? What's the point? If I was in college right now, I'd be complaining about how difficult everything is, and how the sky is falling, and Pixar is making a movie about it. I got my sandwich, my drink, and my cookies, and that's all I had come for. Mission accomplished, dammit.

RiaN!'s New GoArmy Commercial:

As always, the commercial features someone at their new civilian job after getting out of the army. The employer is explaining a few points of the job to the former soldier.

Manager: "Now, there may be times where you'll have to work really late. Have you ever had to do that before?"

The former soldier's eyes become distant and the scene cuts to a company of tired and hungry soldiers standing in formation well after the sun has gone down and the rain has made everything cold and clammy. Everyone is still on duty because of some really stupid reason [OPSEC! HAHAHAHHA!] and is highly annoyed.

Cut back to the present.

Ex-Soldier: "Yeah.....at my last job."

GOARMY.COM